Leaving An Abusive Situation is Hard… Especially When There Are Animals Involved

Animal Safekeeping

Animals are also exposed to and affected by violence in the home. Not only can animals be abused, they can be used as tool for the abuser to control and punish the victim. Pets are seen as part of the family, making it hard for many victims of abuse to leave the home knowing their pet is left behind.

If someone punches, kicks, throws, or hurts an animal in any way, that person has demonstrated the capacity for violence. You cannot assume that the violence will stop there. If the person has harmed or seriously threatened your animal, you and your children may also be in danger.

What effect does animal abuse have on my children?

Some victims of domestic violence have reported that their children have become more aggressive after witnessing animal cruelty in the home. Children sometimes behave more cruelly to animals, and often become more hurtful to others (for example, bullying) or withdrawn and emotional. It’s important when talking to a counsellor that you mention any animal abuse that has occurred.

What steps can I take to protect my animals?

Try to remove the animals from the situation as soon as possible.

Gather supplies that might be useful if you have to leave quickly with your pet: a carrier, a collar and leash, medications.

Ask friends or trusted family members to care for your pet/pets temporarily.

Contact a kennel to make arrangements to have your pet boarded. Kennels will require proof of vaccinations so remember to bring a recent veterinary invoice with you. (Your veterinarian may be able to supply a full vaccination record directly to the boarding kennel, upon request.)

If you are applying for an Emergency Protective Order, protect your animals by including them in it.

Some animal shelters may be able to provide temporary pet care or help arrange for foster care. Talk with your nearest SPCA or Humane Society to see if they can assist.

If you live in Regina …

The Regina Humane Society Safe Places Program accepts family pets when a victim of domestic violence is leaving, or has already left the home to enter a shelter environment. Pets are picked up directly from the safe house and taken directly to an approved foster family for care. If a pickup is needed outside of the Society’s normal operating hours, contact Regina City Police at 306.777.6500. For further information on the Safe Places Program, please contact 306.543.6363 Ext. 244.

If you live in Saskatoon …

The Saskatoon SPCA Pet Safekeeping Program assists the victims of domestic violence with the short-term care of companion animals. Pet care is provided at no charge for up to one month. Caseworkers at emergency shelters and transition houses are able to provide referrals to this program.

Other things to keep in mind

If your animal is being threatened, keep any evidence you may have (such as photos, emails, or voice mail messages) to hand over to police.

Any receipts or paperwork you have related to the purchase or care of your pet can be useful if you have to prove ownership.

What can I do if my pet has been abused?

Report animal abuse to one of the organizations listed below or to your local RCMP or municipal police. They will investigate the situation and take appropriate action. You can make an anonymous complaint.

The Saskatchewan Animal Protection Act makes it illegal for a person to cause or allow an animal to continue to be in “distress.” Distress is defined as:

  • deprived of food, water, or adequate shelter;
  • injured, sick, in pain, or suffering; or
  • abused or neglected.

To report the neglect or abuse of: 


Regina Humane Society – 306.543.6363

Saskatoon SPCA – 306.374.7387

Moose Jaw Humane Society – 306.692.1517

Prince Albert SPCA – 306.763.6110

Pets in all other locations or livestock anywhere in the province: 

Animal Protection Services of Saskatchewan – 1.844.382.0002

For emergencies and after-hours assistance:

Contact your local RCMP or municipal police.

Adapted from http://www.albertaspca.org/neglect-abuse/cruelty-connection/victims.html

Call for Critter Classic Planning Committee Members

The Saskatchewan SPCA is currently looking for individuals interested in joining a volunteer planning committee to help with coordination of the Critter Classic Golf Tournament. Activities for committee members would include seeking event sponsorships, prizes and silent auction items, representing the Saskatchewan SPCA in media interviews, and participating in monthly conference calls.

If this sounds like an opportunity that interests you, please contact Josh by phone at 306-382-7726 or email josh@sspca.ca to learn more about the Critter Classic and how you can get involved. The Critter Classic will be held in Regina in September 2017.

Progress Made On New Registration Program

The Working Group continues to meet to discuss the new voluntary Registration and Certification Program for Animal Rescues.

The Working Group includes representatives from rescue groups, SPCAs and Humane Societies, the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Protection Services of Saskatchewan and the Saskatchewan Veterinary Medical Association, as well as the Saskatchewan SPCA.

The Working Group has drafted a decision making framework for the program as well as a code of ethics and conflict of interest guidelines.

The certification and registration program will offer practical guidelines for the care of rescue animals. Care guidelines will be based on the Association of Shelter Vets Guidelines for Standards of Care in Animal Shelters (2010) and the ASCPA Shelter Care Checklists: Putting ASV Guidelines into Action.

Once the program is finalized, it will be administered by the Saskatchewan SPCA, with a separate oversight committee.

A meeting for stakeholder groups in the animal welfare sector will be held in October 2017. The meeting will provide the opportunity for rescue groups to learn more about the program and how they can get involved.

Animal Safekeeping Coordinator Helping Victims of Violence

My name is Leanne Sillers and I am the new Animal Safekeeping Coordinator here at the Saskatchewan SPCA. In this newly-established position, I will be working to help improve access to resources for people fleeing interpersonal violence and abuse, and their animals.

Leanne Sillers is the new Animal Safekeeping Coordinator at the Saskatchewan SPCA

I have been a social worker for nine years. I am married and have three step children and four grandchildren. When I am not working I enjoy spending time with family and friends. I recently obtained a golden retriever, Jack, who is certified as a therapy dog.

For the past eight years, I worked at Family Service Saskatoon as a half-time youth exposed to violence coordinator and half-time domestic violence court case worker. In both positions I was assisting individuals who either currently or previously had experienced violence in their lives. And, according to the most recent Statistics Canada report, Saskatchewan’s per capita rate of intimate partner violence is more than double the national rate. This means there is definitely lots of work that needs to be done in this area.

By accepting this position I am able to combine both my passion for working with victims of domestic violence and my love for animals. I am looking forward to being a part of such important work.

Funding for the Animal Safekeeping Program has been provided by the Community Initiatives Fund. The Community Initiatives Fund invests in the quality of life of Saskatchewan residents by offering grants for community projects that help support community development, inclusion, leadership and vitality.


Employment Opportunity: Program Coordinator

Program Coordinator (Part-time, term)

The Saskatchewan Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Saskatchewan SPCA) is working to raise awareness of the human-animal bond and promote the humane treatment of animals.

Saskatchewan Towards Offering Partnership Solutions (STOPS) to Violence is a province-wide partnership that promotes healthy relationships and strong, safe, violence free communities.

PATHS (Provincial Association of Transition Houses and Services) of Saskatchewan is a provincial association for 21 women’s shelters and domestic violence counselling agencies.

The three organizations collaborate on initiatives aimed at supporting the growth of strong and healthy communities through improved access to resources for the victims of interpersonal violence and abuse. A joint research study completed in the spring of 2016 explored how concerns about animal safety impact the decision making of individuals leaving situations involving interpersonal violence. Building on this study, the new Animal Safekeeping Program aims to help improve the safety of persons fleeing interpersonal violence and abuse in Saskatchewan, and their animals.

The position:

The Program Coordinator will play a key role in the research and planning required for the successful launch of this program. The ability to work both independently and as part of a team is essential.

Responsibilities include:

  • develop education and training materials for the staffs of human service and animal welfare organizations;
  • deliver regional educational sessions on the link between interpersonal violence and animal abuse;
  • create a database of animal safekeeping resources to assist the victims of interpersonal violence and abuse;
  • assist in the planning and staging of a provincial conference;
  • help grow the number of organizations providing animal safekeeping services and supports in Saskatchewan;
  • explore new options for emergency and longer-term animal safekeeping services and supports; and
  • promote cooperation and collaboration between the human services and the animal welfare sectors.

The Program Coordinator will be based in Saskatoon. The successful candidate will be able to travel periodically, and work weekends and evenings, as required. A valid Saskatchewan driver’s license and reliable transportation are required. Related travel expenses will be reimbursed.

The candidate: 

This position will appeal to individuals with an undergraduate degree or other education/experience in the areas of social work, the humanities, education, veterinary medicine, or veterinary technology.

The successful candidate will also possess:

  • Excellent written and interpersonal communication skills
  • Good research skills
  • Strong problem solving capabilities
  • Excellent organizational and time management skills
  • Familiarity with the use of MS Access or other database program


Dependent upon experience

This is a part-time, term position, with possibility of extension.

Term:  February 15, 2017 to November 30, 2017

¾ time:  30 hours per week

To apply: 

Applicants should send a resume and cover letter outlining how they meet the specific requirements of the position to info@sspca.ca by January 14, 2017.

While we sincerely appreciate all applications, only those candidates selected for interview will be contacted.

Please note the successful candidate will be required to provide a criminal records check.

Funding for the Animal Safekeeping Program has been provided by the Community Initiatives Fund. The Community Initiatives Fund invests in the quality of life of Saskatchewan residents by offering grants for community projects that help support community development, inclusion, leadership and vitality. 

Holiday Hours

Season’s greetings from all of us at the Saskatchewan SPCA.


  • Friday, December 23
    8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
  • Saturday, December 24 to Monday, January 2
  • Tuesday, January 3
    8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

If you are calling to report suspected animal cruelty, please see the following for information about which agency to contact:  Reporting suspected animal neglect or abuse

Saskatoon Police Service K-9 2017 Calendar

For the second year in a row, the Saskatoon Police Service’s K-9 unit has put together a calendar with proceeds supporting the Stryker K-9 Care Fund for retired police dogs.

This fund is one of the first of its kind in Canada. The Stryker K-9 Care Fund was established by the Saskatchewan SPCA to help owners with the cost of emergency and routine veterinary care for retired police dogs. The program is open to police dogs that have retired from active service with the RCMP or a municipal police force in Saskatchewan.

The calendars can be purchased for $10 at the following Saskatoon locations:

  • Saskatoon Police Service headquarters (76 25th St. E.)
  • Saskatchewan SPCA offices (519 45th St. W.)
  • Early’s Farm and Garden Centre (51st St. & Lorne Ave. locations)
  • Arlington Animal Hospital (3010-B Arlington Ave.)

For more information on the Stryker K-9 Care Fund, click here.

Keeping Your Pet Safe During the Holidays

With Christmas right around the corner, it’s important to keep in mind that some of the holiday cheer that we enjoy could be harmful, and potentially fatal, for the furry friends in our lives.

When celebrating the season, remember that foods like chocolate and things sweetened with xylitol (gum, some peanut butters, baked goods,  etc.), grapes, and raisins can cause your cat or dog to fall ill. Other foods like macadamia nuts, onions, garlic, and chives, and salty snack foods could also result in a traumatic health situation for your pet. Alcoholic beverages can lead to health problems, including coma and possible death. Avoid feeding Fluffy or Fido the leftover turkey bones as these bones could become a choking hazard or do damage to internal organs.

When it comes to Christmas decorations, remember to properly secure your Christmas tree to avoid any injuries that may result from a falling evergreen. Eating plants like mistletoe and holly may cause your pet to experience nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Keep electrical cords out of reach of cats, dogs, and other fuzzy companions that like to chew on loose hanging and easy-to-reach dangling wires. Batteries should also be kept in a secure and safe place. If you choose to bring out a special candle, make sure to use the appropriate candle holders and place the candles in a location that is inaccessible to your animals. If you leave the room, properly extinguish the candles to avoid any burns or unwanted destruction caused by fire.

If you would like to give your pet a special holiday treat or gift, remember that there are many healthy treats and durable toys that are available all year long. Though these items may not be as festive, we know that they are safe for our companions, and at this time of the year, all we really want is to ensure the health and well-being of our loved ones – furry or not.